Burmese Translation of Vaclav Havel’s Children Book to Launch This Week

By The Irrawaddy 12 May 2014

RANGOON — A Burmese translation of a children’s book written by former Czech president and playwright Václav Havel will be launched in Rangoon this week.

The translation of “The Pizh’duks,” which is the only children’s book ever written by Havel, will include illustrations by Burmese dissident leader Min Ko Naing, according to the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Rangoon, which has organized the launching ceremony.

Min Ko Naing will read passages from the book at the ceremony, to be held at Gallery 65 on Wednesday from 5-7 pm.

Havel, a supporter of the Burmese pro-democracy movement, was the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic from 1993-2003. He wrote more than 20 plays and numerous works of non-fiction, but only one children’s book.

“The The Pizh’duks,” written in 1975, is a fairy tale through which he attempts to show the absurdities of the then-ruling communist regime.

“Dear children, I don’t usually write for children, and that is why I don’t know if this tale of mine about the Pizh’duks is going to make sense to you, and if you are going to like it,” wrote the former Czech president, who died in 2011. “If not, don’t throw it away—wait and see how it is when you are older!”

The children’s book is the second piece of work by Havel to be translated to Burmese, after “The Power of the Powerless,” a political essay written in 1978, according to the Embassy of the Czech Republic.